My first editorial in my brave new little newspaper, the 21st Century Times
|Well, it's time to write it out. Speak my mind, state my case, unburden myself, toss off the boomerang and see what comes back. A great wave is rolling across the English speaking world in these times, and the flood is causing a lot of havoc and confusion, in the name of justice.
Expression of this nature always seems to require the standard disclaimer these days. That I am in no way misogynist by nature or training, that I am not so narrow minded as to fall into that dark pit of bigotry, hate, prejudice. The only group I identify with is the human race. It's a big group. I like it that way.
This editorial will tackle the history of the me too movement, the kangaroo courts that infect our universities, colleges and institutions of higher learning, and how these have impacted our societies. Particularly here in North America.
I wish to start by pointing out a historic fact. And that is the history of the great day care witch hunt which began in the early 1980's, and staggered into the early 1990's. Lasting roughly a decade, it did a lot of damage to a lot of people, almost all of whom were completely innocent. But not only that. The vast majority of the damaged human beings that this mania affected - happened to be the very children who were supposedly being protected. Which for me, was the craziest part of the story, and the most damning indictment of the entire affair.
So we've proven that we are quite capable of doing this. The pandemic of abuse that we believe we put a stop to 30 years ago has not happened since. This is not because we have somehow become more pure of heart. It is because it never happened in the first place. To know this, you have to read the accounts, the courtroom case histories, the articles, editorials, investigations, and the selection of decent books written on the matter. I have.
In these times, moving right along, we now have movements raging through our social media (hence, the hash tag) and through our academies of higher learning (That famous Dear Colleague letter, and its effects on the Title IX legislation passed in 1974.)
Which have produced some interesting results. Real assault, sexual and otherwise, is a criminal offence, and has been for some time now. Which means in a sane, fair and just society, should be handled by the Law, the Courts, and be filtered through our institutions of jurisprudence.
In this way are these matters arrested, charged, investigated thoroughly, tried and either convicted or acquitted.
Where we drop the ball is when we decide that this system somehow is simply not good enough anymore. And that is what I disagree with entirely.
For the simple reason, that no-one in an academic administrative position is even qualified to replace the system of Law mentioned above. No-one.
The system is the best thing that we have to ensure a fair application of a process that is not infected with personal and specific bias. Or, by an overwhelming desire to keep Washington's transfer money, and not have to give it back. History has shown us that time and again, some people will do very strange things for monetary reasons.
I'm going to cut to the chase here. All of this has had a very strange and very interesting effect on men, in our societies. Particularly, in large groups of men beginning to avoid women.
Which I'm going to say right here is a downright shame. I am happily married myself, have a multitude of women friends, am entirely female friendly, and consider that all of this not only has done me no harm in life, but has in fact, blessed my life with much insight and understanding.
The legions of men now avoiding women do not feel this way at all. They have their reasons. And I hasten to add right here, I'm talking about the good men, the decent men, the hardworking and honest men. Not the cowards, predators, users and abusers.
How to tell the two apart?
Funny thing about that - good men are asking that very same question. How to tell an honest fair minded woman, from the other sort? The one who might lose me my job, destroy a good reputation I've spent a lifetime building up, and summing it all up, wreck my life.
Gulity people deserve a fair chance to defend themselves, even though they're guilty. This goes back to the very foundation of the nation. Have they always had fair treatment? We can only be reasonably certain that this is the case.
Fast forward from 1776 to the present. And stare quickly and then look away, from the omnivorous maw of the court of public opinion, run primarily by social media, of course, and also mass media in all its forms. Is this a good replacement for professional jurisprudence? I doubt that professionalism can be replaced by any random dozens of millions of instant "experts." I would certainly not want to ever be judged in that court - and what sane person ever would? And yet this is what, as a civilized society, we now do.
And the effects? All those men avoiding women. For the reasons stated. Not because they are actually guilty of anything, but because they have far too much to lose. A blunder, a joke, anything less that what meets a judgement of perfection, can turn on them in an instant. And when the accusation becomes the equivalent of a guilty verdict - why would we blame them?
But we do anyway. And that is the root of the problem. I came to understand that as a mere child. When a person looks at you and is determined to find fault, well then, they will find fault. Not at all because you are actually wrong, but because they need you to be wrong.
And that was something that arrived within my young sensibility during the Civil Rights era. And shocked me into an awareness I've never let go of since.
This is at the very core of what prejudice is. We find fault with another person because of the color of their skin. Or because they are a man, or a woman. Or because of the religion they practice. Or because of the grassroots culture they were born into. Or because their IQ is either too high, or too low.
And if I continued writing this particular list, WDC would fire me for using up too much memory space.
It's what we do, as humans. Which doesn't make it right. I'm of the opinion that human nature needs upgrading constantly, and improvement, and lots of learning - to bounce us out of our echo chambers, and into forms of understanding that broaden out, a little. Elbow room for the consciousness.
The social implications of this are enormous. Our society is still based on the idea of people getting together and sticking. Call it what you like. Normative, conventional, or even a social construct. The point is, we're not about to replace the thing anytime soon with something else that works as well. Just as we're not about to replace capitalism and free enterprise with something that the vast majority of Americans would not know or understand and recognize from deep within generations of their own cultural roots.
You can take away the boat we float in. But you better replace it with something reasonably watertight, otherwise we're all going to sink.